Big Animal Adventures
Collected by Kristin Zibell, AFAR Local Expert
Get out into the wild and be amazed at the enormity of these creatures.
Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur, Mexico
The ocean churns as a 36-ton mammal swims up to the boat. With your arm plunged into the cool water, you await the touch of a California gray whale. Like a house cat craving a scratch on the head, the whale pushes its rubbery skin, rough with...
South East Asia
When you visit the 700-square-mile Komodo National Park, you feel like you’re sailing through the Grand Canyon—but one that’s been flooded with crystalline water and fringed with reef. Underwater, the UNESCO World Heritage Site has more than...
Pa Yup Nai, Wang Chan District, Rayong, Thailand
Accompany elephants as they make their way to a “retirement” park in Northern Thailand after careers in trekking camps. The project is an attempt both to give the elephants a more pleasant, natural life andto rebuild the bonds between the animals...
5255 Lower Honoapiilani Rd, Lahaina, HI 96761, USA
People define Aloha in many different ways. I think of Aloha as a state of peacefulness that comes from an appreciation for the beauty and fragility of life, combined with compassion and respect for the people and creatures we live among. When I...
Osa Peninsula, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
Off the coast of Costa Rica’s remote Osa Peninsula, spend your days at sea counting humpback whales, identifying them by their markings, plotting their movements, and recording their sounds. Your work will help to determine if the same whales...
Kitimat-Stikine C (Part 2), BC V0T, Canada
The Great Bear Rainforest is an expanse of mountains, fjords, islands and river estuaries on the central and north coast of British Columbia, Canada. Robert Kennedy, Jr., has called it the "last stand of the great North American rainforest". I...
1567 Westside Rd, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, USA
Washington's San Juan Islands and Canada's Gulf Islands are home to three resident Orca pods. The waters off the San Juan Islands are a protected Marine Sanctuary so the pods feed on salmon in the area. These Orca populations are at risk due to...
Carretera a Pichilingue km 5.5 next to Hotel La Concha, Zona Central, 23000 La Paz, B.C.S., Mexico
"“Aeeeeiiiiiiiiii”, Shauna shrieked, splashing heavily trying to flee the boulder-sized head coming at her. Her stunned scream set off a chain reaction of fear throughout the group – four of us swished about, creating waves in the green, cold...
Puerto Madryn, Chubut Province, Argentina
Watching whales from Doradillo beach near Puerto Madryn, Argentina was the most incredible wildlife experience I have ever had. Here, Southern right whales come to the water's edge, apparently to people watch. The day I spend at Doradillo beach...
B199, Rambukkana 71100, Sri Lanka
The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka has existed since 1975. It cares for elephants that are injured, or without Mothers. It is regarded as the home of the biggest herd of elephants in the world. While visiting the Orphanage, you can see...
209/2 Sridom, ซอย ร่วมชัย อำเภอ แม่แตง เชียงใหม่ 50100, Thailand
Learn about the history of elephants in Thailand, feed the elephants by hand, learn commands for controlling an elephant, ride bareback through the countryside, and finally spend some time in a small pond bathing your elephant. Baan Chang Elephant...
There is a sliver of Africa where four countries almost converge: Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana. The Chobe River is one of the many separation points between Botswana and Namibia and it’s also where I experienced one of my favorite...
Ban Pong, Hang Dong District, Chiang Mai 50230, Thailand
I really wanted to ride an elephant. Decades ago while reading a travel magazine I was mesmerized by a close-up picture of smiling tourists riding an elephant up to the Amber Fort. That was what I wanted to do, ride on top of an elephant. Walking...
A three-day safari in Kruger National Park is a must for anyone visiting South Africa. Entering the gates is like Jurassic Park and you feel transported back in time to the creation of Earth where the wild animals, especially the elephants, are...
Chintsa, Amatola Coastal, 5275, South Africa
The big cats had been elusive for the entire two week trip. It should have occurred to me that they're cats and they spend 18 hours a day sleeping in the tall grass. It was the very last game drive of the journey. We had been bumping around in the...
On a game drive in Londolozi Game Reserve, South Africa. Two adolescent male lions were 'treed' by a herd of approximately 250 buffalo. Buffalo don't kill lions (usually) but they do provoke and retaliate when they've been stalked by lions. This...
Lum Sum, Saiyok District Kanchanaburi 71150, Thailand
In principle I do not like the idea of keeping tigers at temples and allowing them to be paraded around for the delight of tourists, but when else can you get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures. The only other way to be this...
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